INDEPENDENCE aspirations in Catalonia and Scotland will come under the spotlight tonight when the leader of a pro-indy Catalan grassroots group and a broadcaster and author meet for an international conference in Glasgow.

Elisenda Paluzie, president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Chris Bambery, author of A People’s History of Scotland and co-author of Catalonia Reborn, will ponder the next steps for independence campaigns in both countries before an audience at the Civic House.

Catalan President Peres Aragones (below) has forecast that a Catalan referendum may not be held until the end of this decade, but Paluzie believes that popular demonstrations in Catalonia are the best way to keep alive the hope it will be held before then.

The National:

The academic and activist had hoped that this year’s Catalonia Day on September 11 would once again become a focal point for independence following the pandemic, and there were indeed socially distanced demonstrations, although not as ­massive as they had been in previous years.

“To avoid the referendum not ­arriving until 2030 we have to ­mobilise now,” she said. “We are not in an ideal situation, but we have to mobilise.”

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In case your memory needs ­refreshed, October 1 2017 saw more than two million Catalans vote yes to the creation of a Catalan ­Republic in a poll the Spanish government deemed illegal. The election was marked by the unbridled thuggery of Spanish riot police as they beat ­unarmed, ­defenceless people who were trying to cast their votes.

Since then, the government and judiciary’s repression has continued against political leaders and elected officials.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears in no mood to ­concede any self-determination ­ballot in Catalonia, despite ­pro-Catalan ­independence parties giving his ­minority government the support it needs to pass legislation. There ­appears to be no real road map to ­independence and the movement seems to have stalled.

Former Catalan president ­Carles Puigdemont, exiled in Brussels along with his former ministers Clara ­Ponsati and Toni Comin – all of whom are MEPs – last month ­constituted his Council for the ­Republic, a ­private body designed to organise and ­promote the ­independence ­movement at home, as well as defending civil and political rights.

However it is difficult to determine how effective that could be, especially as the trio face arrest should they try to set foot in Spain.

Many indy-supporting Catalan ­politicians favour a model such as that used in Scotland’s 2014 ­referendum, which was held with the “permission” of the UK Government of then-Prime Minister David ­Cameron which issued a Section 30 order.

However, Paluzie previously told our sister paper The Herald, that ­Nicola Sturgeon should ­consider ­staging a wildcat referendum if Brexit falls apart and damages ­Scotland: “If the option of a Catalan-style ­referendum is there, I’m quite sure the British Government won’t send the police to block the polling ­stations.”

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The National has previously won an award from the Association of Catalan Editors for our coverage of the political stalemate, and tonight’s conference will be chaired by our journalist Greg Russell.

He said: “Parallels are frequently drawn between the independence campaigns in Scotland and ­Catalonia, but it will be interesting to hear how people think they should be pursued in a contemporary Europe.”